“If you are easily distracted or stressed, it could be a sign to bring more mindfulness and less busyness into your day.”
How letting go creates a more productive, fulfilling environment
In a world overflowing with technology, there are – not surprisingly – record-breaking numbers of people suffering from stress and anxiety. In their search for relief, they likely come across the trending topic – mindfulness in the workplace. Everyone is talking about it; everyone wants it, yet most don’t have a clue what it means.
As a culture we’ve adapted ourselves to a lifestyle of over indulgence, entitlement and achievement, all at the high cost of our emotional and physical wellbeing. We’re running at such a fast pace that our days have blended into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Yikes! Before you know it, you’re too old to go back and reclaim those long lost years. Personally, I have lost several years of my precious existence I can no longer reclaim.
In an effort to balance work and quality of the life, society came up with mindfulness. I’d like to take this opportunity to shed light on the topic.
Mindfulness: what is it?
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, paying attention to where you are, without judgement. There is no right or wrong way to do this; it’s simply allowing yourself not to think about the past or the future.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, I can tell you from experience it’s not. It means being in the moment when you are so immersed in an activity that you lose all concept of space and time. Children are our best examples of this – when they’re playing and truly enjoying themselves, they are completely present and unaware of what’s going on around them.
Playing sports is another great example. When I play tennis there’s no one on the court except my partner and me, or when I’m in a spin class – there’s no one in the room except the instructor, the music and me. I’m completely swept away in those moments and have no idea how much time has passed. Before I know it, the class is over, and it’s back to reality. The difference is that after a mindful activity, I continue my day with a renewed freshness that wasn’t there before.
The benefits of mindfulness
According to Ellen Langer, social psychologist and psychology professor at Harvard University,
“We all seek stability. We want to hold things still, thinking that if we do, we can control them. But since everything is always changing, that doesn’t work. Actually, it causes you to lose control.”
It’s natural that we seek security and control. But oftentimes it’s in our best interest to let go.
Langer explains some benefits to being mindful: “It’s easier to pay attention. You remember more of what you’ve done. You’re more creative. You’re able to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. You like people better, and people like you better, because you’re less evaluative. You’re more charismatic.”
There is increasing evidence to show mindfulness has many positive effects:
- Reduced rumination
- Stress reduction
- Boosts to working memory
- Less emotional reactivity
- Relationship satisfaction
Mindfulness in the workplace
In the workplace, there are often people from all walks of life, so it’s important to find a way to work together and embrace those differences. Think about it: what’s your work environment like? There’s likely at least one coworker who doesn’t get you, or a boss who is constantly berating you.
Studies show that practicing mindfulness in the office leads to a “decrease in perceived stress, and an increase in better concentration levels including memory tasks and multi-tasking.”
How can you create a mindful environment in your workplace? When was the last time you were fully present at work?
Begin to find healthy ways for you and your colleagues to let go, and in doing so, become more mindful in your everyday interactions and work activities. Start to reap the mindfulness benefits of productivity and fulfillment in your workplace.